Articles 2446733493_3a821d0b6b

Published on August 5th, 2016 | by Joy Swen

3 Lessons About Purpose I Learned From Almost Dying

Why are you here?

I am here for a reason.

God has a plan for my life.

My life is a gift from Elohim.

How do I know? Because the very fact that I’m alive is a miracle.

Let’s go back in time to February 2000, a month that would shape my life in more ways than one.

I was 7 months old when I was airlifted to Children’s Hospital because I was having a seizure and I was unresponsive. Within a few hours they diagnosed me with Strep Pneumococcal Meningitis, an infection that attacks the brain.

But then doctors told my parents the devastating news: I was going to die within a few hours.

They were at last able to get me on life support and by God’s dear grace I didn’t die. I spent 8 days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and two weeks in the hospital. I was then able to return home and finish my recovery there.

In the days and months following I made a full recovery and didn’t have any after effects of the illness. God had saved my life and healed me fully.

I used to wonder why I didn’t die back then. I would have gone to heaven and my parents would have recovered from losing me, right? Sure. But God wasn’t finished with me yet.

He had a plan for my life that wasn’t complete in February 2000. It wasn’t time for me to go Home.

Over the past almost 17 years since the illness, the illness has shaped my worldview immensely. I now see my world and life differently due to the illness.

Here are the biggest things I have learned as a result of my illness.

1. Life is a gift from God.

James 4:14 “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time then vanishes away.”

Every day I live here on earth is a gift from God. He is giving me the lungs to breathe and the heart to beat. Why? Because He loves me.

2. My life belongs to God.

Romans 14:8 “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

Lying in the hospital as a helpless 7-month old baby there was one reason I was still alive: God was holding me in the arms of His angels. I learned that I can’t do anything to stay alive. If God decides it’s time for me to go Home, He’ll call me Home. My life is out of my control and therefore it belongs to the Creator above.

Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” If I know my life belongs to God, then I should be joyful to obey this command and give my life to God.

3. I am here for one reason: To love God and serve Him with my entire life!

Matthew 22:36-40 “Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

Matthew 28:19-20 “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

If I claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, then I should want to follow His commands. And these things He says aren’t requests, they’re commands that are meant to be followed. Over the past couple years, I’ve learned the importance of following the commands of Christ, no matter how hard it is. He has shown me so much love and grace in my life that I am excited and ready to give my life to Him. I will spend every day I live on this earth loving God and pointing others to Him.

So let me ask you again, why are you here? What are you living for? What’s the point of your life?

The reason for my life is simple. And my goal is to live it out through every breath I breathe.

I am here to love God, and to spend my life serving Him.

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Photo courtesy of Star Guitar and Flickr Creative Commons.


About the Author

is a 16 year old on fire for Christ. She enjoys writing, reading, daydreaming, and participating as a Cadet in Civil Air Patrol. Her prayer is that she is able to spend her life showing God's love to children who are in need of healing.

  • Great testimony Joy and insight. I can’t imagine how tough that must have been, but God works everything for good for those who are called according to His purpose!

  • Aaron C.

    Wow, what an experience that must have been for your family, Joy. Our God is truly amazing! He used a deadly illness in such a way that allowed you to realize the purpose of life, which is to glorify God.
    “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
    Philippians 1:20-21

    • Joy Swen

      I love that verse. One of the verses that propells me everyday.

      • Aaron C.

        Which verse? Philippians 1:21 came to mind when I read your article, but I saw that Philippians 1:20 is really good as well.

        I read Philippians 1:20 and I was thinking: “I really like this verse!” (But then again there are LOTS of scriptures in Philippians that I really like… for example, Philippians 4:13, 4:16, 4:4, and the list could go on…)

        • Joy Swen

          There are many many verses I really like. Too many to list them here. But Phill 1:21 stood out to me cause of the last part “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

          • Aaron C.

            Okay. That’s the one I thought you were talking about, but I just wanted to make sure.

  • Haven Asnip

    Awesome post Joy! To answer your question, I’m hear to glorify God with my life. I am living for Him. My purpose is to shine Christ to others and be a preservative of God’s truths. Thank you so much for sharing your story and reminding me what truly matters.

  • Beautiful story Joy! It made me cry… In a good way! You are an inspiration and a true example of a miracle. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, inspiring story! You reminded me that life is a beautiful precious gift from God. :)

  • Elaine

    Oh my goodness! I so needed to hear this today! Within hours of my limp and blue body being born I began seizing almost exactly nineteen years ago. I was in the ICU for ten days. Other than a few seizures after I was one I was pretty healthy until 13. At 15 I almost died, and at 16 I was finally properly diagnosed with my illness (CIRS). At the time of my near death experience I felt so awed with what a gift life was, being sensitive to every moment as a precious gift from God to glorify Him, but I have to admit I have forgotten in daily life. Today was especially hard for me with my illness. Thank you for the reminder of my purpose.
    By His breath, Dorothy Elaine

    • Natalie


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